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Color Toning Shampoo 101: How To Use It And 9 Formulas To Try

Color Toning Hair Products

How many times have you gotten your hair lightened only for it to burn brassy? By the time the two week mark rolls around after your appointment, your once perfectly ashy mane has streaks of yellow and orange running through it. While your first thought might be rushing to the salon, there’s another way to remedy brassiness between appointments: Color toning shampoo.

Wondering what exactly color toning shampoo is and how to make it a part of your hair care routine? We teamed up with Ashley Lemaster, Redken educator, to break down all there is to know about color toning shampoo and conditioner.

How do color toning shampoos work?

If you don’t have time to head to the salon at the first sight of brass, that’s what toning shampoos are for. These specially formulated care systems use added pigment to help neutralize brassiness and ensure your hair color looks vibrant between appointments.

Confused about how toning shampoos work? Take a look at the color wheel. Colors that are complementary to each other on the color wheel cancel each other out. Purple shampoo, for example, deposits violet pigments which work to counteract brassy, yellow tones in blonde hair. What if, however, you’re dealing with brass as a brunette?

“Medium browns tend to go brassy, but they’re going to be seeing more orange tones….When we want to cancel out orange tones, we’re going to want to use something that’s more blue based,” Lemaster explains. “Think about your darker brunettes...When they’re seeing more red tones, we’re going to want to correct that with more of a green-based shampoo.”

How To Use Toning Shampoo

Color toning shampoos contain pigment that can stain your hands, so before you lather up, we recommend applying gloves. Put a quarter-size amount of shampoo in the palm of your hand and emulsify it for even distribution.

Begin applying the shampoo to your hair, starting at the scalp and slowly working your way down until you reach your ends. Depending on how much you want to tone, leave the shampoo on your strands for two to 10 minutes. Then, thoroughly rinse the shampoo and apply conditioner from the mid-lengths to ends to prevent oily roots.

What is the best color toning shampoo for you?

Whether you’re a brunette dealing with unwanted brass or a salon blonde in need of a quick color refresh, we’re breaking down the best color toning shampoos based on your specific concerns.

The Best Color Toning Shampoos For Blondes:

Kérastase Blond Absolu Bain Ultra-Violet Purple Shampoo

If you’re a total ash blonde addict, you’re going to want to make sure there’s not a brassy strand in sight between touch-up appointments. That’s why we recommend adding Kérastase Blond Absolu Bain Ultra-Violet Purple Shampoo to your hair care routine. Formulated with Hyaluronic Acid, this color-depositing formula instantly neutralizes brassy hair and yellow undertones to maintain cool blonde shades.

Want to ensure you have the best possible results? Be sure to follow your shampoo with the matching Blond Absolu Cicaflash Conditioner.

Kérastase Blond Absolu Bain Ultra-Violet Purple Shampoo, $35.00 MSRP

Redken Color Extend Blondage Color-Depositing Shampoo

You’ve invested the time and energy in going salon blonde—now you’ll want to invest in caring for your new hue. Redken’s Color Extend Blondage Color-Depositing Shampoo is formulated with ultra-violet pigments to tone, strengthen, and brighten your blonde hair color. Complete your system with Color Extend Blondage Conditioner.

Redken Color Extend Blondage Color-Depositing Shampoo, $22.50 MSRP

Matrix Total Result So Silver Purple Shampoo

We’re big fans of Matrix’s Total Results So Silver Purple Shampoo and Conditioner system, which cleanses and conditions while neutralizing unwanted brassy warmth and eliminating dull, yellow tones.

Matrix Total Result So Silver Purple Shampoo, $14.00 MSRP

Biolage ColorLast Purple Shampoo

Going blonde isn’t easy, so having products guaranteed to help your color last as long as possible is everything. The Biolage ColorLast Purple Shampoo neutralizes brass and unwanted warm tones with purple pigments while conditioning and protecting hair from breakage.

Biolage ColorLast Purple Shampoo, $20.00 MSRP

Pureology Strength Cure Best Blonde Shampoo

You went through the consultation and the hair coloring appointment, but now it’s time to keep that platinum looking fresh. What better to use than Pureology’s Strength Cure Best Blonde Shampoo. Paired with Strength Cure Best Blonde Conditioner, this system utilizes violet pigments and the brand’s exclusive AntiFadeComplex to help keep blonde hair toned and neutralized brassiness. We’d call that an all-around win!

Pureology Strength Cure Best Blonde Shampoo, $31.00 MSRP

The Best Color Toning Shampoos For Lightened Brunettes:

Redken Color Extend Brownlights Shampoo

With all the hype about purple shampoo for blondes, brassy brunettes have been overlooked—until now! If you’re a brunette dealing with brass, pick up Redken’s Color Extend Brownlights Shampoo. This shampoo is formulated with blue pigments to prevent and neutralize brass on both highlighted and natural brown hair. Complete your system with Redken Color Extend Brownlights Conditioner.

Redken Color Extend Brownlights Shampoo, $22.50 MSRP

Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo

Brass, begone! Matrix’s Total Results Brass Off Shampoo contains blue-violet pigments that neutralize brassy tones while refreshing hair with cool tones. If you have ash brown hair, this formula is perfect for you! Pair your shampoo with the matching Total Results Brass Off Conditioner.

Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo, $14.00 MSRP

The Best Color Toning Shampoo For Brunettes With Red Undertones:

Matrix Total Results Dark Envy Shampoo

Green shampoo might’ve not been on your radar before, but if you have unwanted red tones in your dark hair color, you’re going to need a formula like Matrix Total Results Dark Envy Shampoo in your routine. This green color-depositing shampoo enriches dark bases and neutralizes red undertones in black to dark brown hair color. Follow the Total Results Dark Envy Shampoo with the matching Total Results Dark Envy Conditioner to achieve the best results.

Matrix Total Results Dark Envy Shampoo, $26.00 MSRP

The Best Color Toning Shampoo For Gray Hair:

Redken Color Extend Graydient Shampoo

Whether you’re going gray as a result of age or trying the silver hair color trend out for fun, you’ll need color support to ensure your hair doesn’t edge into yellowish territory. That’s where Redken’s Color Extend Graydient Shampoo can help. This formula contains violet and silver pigments to neutralize unwanted yellow and orange undertones in gray or silver hair. Use with Color Extend Graydient Conditioner for best results.

Redken Color Extend Graydient Shampoo, $22.50 MSRP

Interested in more expert hair tips? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.